2012 Senate Election in Cambodia
Today, it is an important date for the Members of Parliament and commune council members, who are eligible to vote (Elected Officials) to elect 57 Senators for the third Mandate. Out of 61 Senators, 2 were appointed by the King, 2 were elected by the Parliament and 57 Senators will be elected by 11,470 eligible voters (123 MP and 11,453 commune councils’ members). 6 Voters are absent, including Sam Rainsy (in exile in France), three MPs from the SRP (resigned few months ago to stir up for a “Constitutional crisis” by bringing the total number of the National Assembly to be lower than 120 Members as required by the Constitution) and 2 Commune Council members, who passed away recently.
I strongly hope that our “Representatives” could vote freely according to their conscience. Out of 57 Seats available, 46 should go to Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) and 11 to Sam Rainsy Party (SRP). Currently, five political parties have commune councils’ members, but only two parties would get the seats in the Senate. Council members from FCP and Ranariddh parties could vote for CPP. Through negotiation with CPP, they could get up to 2 seats, (Kampuchea Thmey Daily: 01-02.01.2012). Updated: as promised, on 12 March 2012, the CPP dominated National Assembly elected Princess Norodom Bopha Devi and Prince Sisowath Chivan Monirak (both from Funcinpec) for the Senate (82 votes out of 102 MPs presents). The National Election Committee (NEC) spent around 600,000 U$ for this election.
The Election campaign started on 7 January, lasted 21 days and ended on 28 January, 24 hours before election date. The NEC, which is dominated by the ruling party, chose not by accident the 7 January as official “kick-off” day to start the campaign. They would like our voters to be reminded about the Victory Day over the Pol Pot regime in 1979 and may vote for the CPP.
Our Senate was created in 1999 by appointment. The total number of Senators is half of the Parliament seats (123 MPs), which is 61. According to the numbers of the MPs of each party in the National Assembly after 1998 Election, 31 Members were given to the CPP; 23 Members to FUNCINPEC and 7 Members to the SRP. There was one election in the past, which was organized on January 22, 2006. The Senate President takes over the role of the Head of State in case of the absence of the King. Since 1999, Mr. Chea Sim, who is also President of the ruling CPP, is President of the Senate.
Summary of the Senate Election results in 2006:
|Total (turnout: 99.89%)||11,352|
2 Senators were appointed by the King and 2 were chosen by the National Assembly, which brings the total number to 61 members.
In 2012, there are 33 election offices in 8 regions and the opening hours are from 7:00am to 15:00pm. The preliminary election result will be announced by the NEC by the same day. The eight regions are as following:
- Region: Phnom Penh has 6 mandates;
- Region: Kampong Cham: 8;
- Region: Kandal: 5;
- Region: Battambang, Siem Reap, Udor Meanchey, Pailin and Banteay Meanchey: 10;
- Region: Takeo, Kampot and Kep: 7;
- Region: Prey Veng and Svay Rieng: 7;
- Region: Kampong Speu, Kampong Chhnang, Sihanoukville, Koh Kong and Pursat: 8;
- Region: Kampong Thom, Preah Vihear, Kratie, Stung Treng, Ratanakiri and Mondulkiri: 6 mandates.
As result, the SRP managed to win 11 seats (jumping from 2 seats in 2006); despite the exile of its President, all the political and financial pressure, the limited access to the media, the internal problems etc. Preliminary results are as below while the official one will be expected by February 4:
|Total (turnout: 99.24%)||11,383|
According to the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia, The Senate is a body that has legislative power and performs its duties as determined in the constitution and law. However, our Senate is quite weak, in reality. It is more or less a “rubber stamp” of the National Assembly. There was rarely the case that The Senate has rejected the draft laws and made significant suggestions for improvement of the draft laws sent by the Assembly.
Related article see: https://trustbuilding.wordpress.com/2011/10/29/the-cambodian-senate/;